New Features in JAWS

New Features in JAWS

The information below has been taken directly from Freedom Scientific. Check out my comments below in the JAWS Wrap up, after the new features are listed.


The following is a list of improvements made between the December 2019 release and the February 2020 update.

To download the latest release, visit the Downloads web page. You must be logged on as an administrator to install this software.

  • Addressed issues using JAWS and Fusion with the new Microsoft Edge Chromium Browser released in January 2020. Notable fixes include reviewing text in Edit Controls and the Address Bar as well as a possible loss of speech and braille output.
  • Added a new JAWS Settings Center option called “Skip Blank Lines While Navigating” which is on by default when reading web pages and PDF documents. This feature helps make reading more efficient as JAWS and Fusion ignores blank lines as you navigate using UP and DOWN ARROW. For those who prefer to hear blank lines while navigating, open Settings Center (INSERT+6) and clear this check box. You can find this new option in the Web / HTML / PDF group under Reading.
  • Changed the Highlight Tracking used in JAWS when navigating web pages or PDF documents with the Virtual Cursor from a Green Block to a Red Box to match ZoomText and Fusion. To further customize the settings used for visually highlighting text as you navigate, open Settings Center and expand the Visual Tracking group.
  • When reading comments in Word documents, JAWS now also reads any reply comments. For instance, if you are focused on a comment that contains a reply, pressing ALT+SHIFT+APOSTROPHE now reads both the original comment followed by the reply.
  • When using Say All (INSERT+DOWN ARROW) to read a book in the Kindle for PC application, resolved a customer reported issue where JAWS or Fusion would repeat the last line after reaching the end.
  • Added a new Quick Settings option called “Blank Cell Announcement” for JAWS and Fusion that is available when using Excel. By default, when you encounter empty cells as you navigate spreadsheets, you hear “blank” followed by the cell coordinates. Turn off this option if you only want to hear the coordinates of empty cells, making speech less verbose as you navigate.
  • Removed the “Microsoft Edge Browser Support” option from JAWS Settings Center as it is no longer needed. This control was required in order to use the original Edge browser that is being removed from Windows 10 by Microsoft and replaced by the new Chromium version of Edge released in January 2020.
  • Added the ability for JAWS and Fusion to properly recognize and report both Column Span and Row Span info in HTML tables where information might span over 2 or more cells.
  • For JAWS installations licensed using one of the new portal licenses that is tied to an email address, the status line of the JAWS window now only displays the expiration date for the license. The About dialog box will display additional license information including the users email Address, expiration date, and the serial number.
  • Resolved a reported issue where a customer was not able to properly migrate settings from an earlier version.
  • Addressed an issue where typing Contracted Braille very quickly using a Braille keyboard would sometimes cause text to appear in gibberish. This was observed primarily when typing in Office applications and when exporting text from the Scratchpad on Focus displays into an open Office document.
  • Resolved a long standing issue where attempting to select and delete multiple words in a row using a Braille keyboard was not working as expected in Word and Outlook.
  • When typing into a Word document using Contracted Braille, resolved an issue where immediately backspacing over a word and typing a replacement word would result in duplicate text on the current line.
  • Added support for 3 African Languages (Sotho, Xhosa, and Zulu) when using Convenient OCR in JAWS and Fusion.
  • Resolved a reported issue with TreeViews in Eclipse not reading as expected using speech. Braille support for these controls will be addressed in a future update.
  • All JAWS Flexible Web Rules created for 1 chromium based Browser will now apply for any other browser that also uses Chromium. For example, if you create a Flexible Web Rule in Chrome, it will also apply for the new Microsoft Edge Chromium Browser.
  • Resolved an issue where FSReader would become unresponsive when opening a very large DAISY book.
  • Added a function for web application scripts that helps JAWS ignore the role=”application” attribute when a web author has used it incorrectly. This was reported by ONCE in Spain and was related to SAP web-based applications.
  • Resolved a reported issue from Once in Spain where opening very large messages in Outlook 365 with lots of nested levels was causing JAWS and Outlook to stop responding.
  • Added Color Settings options to the View menu in the Script Manager to help users who have issues viewing certain colors, for instance, red/green color blindness.

JAWS All Wrapped Up

That’s it for JAWS this time around. I personally like the skip blank lines setting. It does make for quicker reading in a lot of cases.

If your JAWS hasn’t offered the update to you yet, go to the JAWS help menu, then arrow to Check for updates.



  1. Glad you liked it 🙂 I think eventually jaws will add outlook support for not reporting blank lines. We will see?

  2. thanks a lot for posting all of these changes in one location. If only the skip blank lines would work in outl,ook; it appears to not work. However, again, thanks for posting all of these updates in one location.

  3. This article is in reference to the latest version of jaws 2020 that came out in February.

  4. As a JAWS user I found this article helpful. Thank you. I have JAWS 2019 on my laptop and I’m not sure whether your article relates to 2019 (or a later version of JAWS)? Kind regards, Kevin

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